Thursday, February 20, 2014

From the Vault: George Klein Models a Masterpiece, 1995

 Located in the museum’s North Carshop is a true masterpiece of steam technology. It is the President Washington #5300, a lone survivor and the first of 20 similar locomotives purchased by the B&O from the Baldwin Locomotive Works. Located near the engine is another masterpiece depicting the interior workings of the #5300. Built of brass by a gifted and dedicated museum volunteer named George Klein, it is a true one-of-a-kind scale model. The following article details the incredible work that went into the project and appeared in the museum’s newsletter The Roundhouse Review in the summer of 1995. 

George Klein Models A Masterpiece

It all started when Shawn Cunningham, the museum’s assistant director asked George Klein if he was working on anything new…and gee, wouldn’t it be great if his next project was a replica of a steam engine with parts exposed that visitors didn’t normally see. Any other modeler may have looked at Shawn like he had had one too many cups of railroad coffee, but George liked the idea and started to think.  

What happened next began an 1,535 hours (over a two year period) labor of love- the B&O Class P7 #5300 all brass one inch scale model. This extraordinary original is displayed just inside the Roundhouse.

George told us that “Bruce Hamilton provided me with the blueprints…an original set of 1927 B&O blueprints. The scale size bolts, studs, rivets and staybolts are in the same quantity and location as the full size engine and exactly to the blueprints.”

Weighing 106 pounds and consisting of 4,500 components, all moving parts such as brake rigging, journal boxes, wheel alignment adjusters, spring equalizers, throttle lever and valve, grates, ash pan linkage, piston valves and pistons all move in their respective positions.

Inside the boiler can be found all 212 scale size small tubes and 40 scale size large flue tubes that contain the superheater pipes, the same as a full size engine.

The B&O Class P7 #5300 is a “true” model, that is it was not intended to be a live steam model. It is a significant educational piece and a beautiful work of art. George Klein has been a volunteer with the museum since 1989. A demure gentleman with considerable talents, George has continued to bless us with his many gifts. With a big smile, he says of his latest achievement, “it was fun and a great challenge.”


Barronzm said...

Does George's Family have a copy of the blueprints?

Anonymous said...

Brass is very easy to work so this really shouldn't be considered as anything special.

To be a truly outstanding model of machinery, a multitude of steel components along with custom made iron castings that are then machined to scale tolerances (as in +-.0002") as found on display at the "Museum of Craftsmanship" in California would have a measure of true significance.